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Is Faith a Noun?

July 13, 2010

Is faith a noun or a verb?

I had the opportunity to sit with a few people, while I was back in Mississippi this past week, that live out their faith. I asked quite a few of them a very pertinent question about their lives, “Where is the fruit of your life?” Others I just watched and admired from a distance. It was amazing to listen to their stories. This question has been a part of my life for the past ten years because of a challenge by a man I admire. Everyone bears some kind of fruit.

Many people associate going to church, singing in the choir, and being a good person as the pinnacle of Christianity, but their lives produce no fruit. We treat faith like it is a possession; something we keep hidden and to ourselves. In the book of James it says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” If you look at how we use the word faith in sentence structure in our culture the majority of time it is a noun, but it should be a verb, because faith is action; faith is movement. Faith is doing what God created you to do when it makes no sense. Faith is stepping out and being there for someone when everyone else has disowned them. Faith produces fruit!

Scott Richardson is one of the people I sat with while I was at home. He told me he hasn’t been going to church much lately, or teaching anywhere. I told him that God may have him in a season of rest. I could tell he was a little down about where he was currently in his walk, so I asked him the question, “where is your fruit?” I asked Scott’s permission to share a piece of what he wrote in an email after I left; check out the two stories below.

I thought about what you said and decided to put a pen to some accomplishments since I began this walk with God almost 12 years ago. Know that you have been instrumental in challenging me during this time.

The first and most important is my relationship with my dad. When I moved back to MS about 11 years ago, he and I had virtually no relationship. At that time, I think he could only see me as a failure but noticed that I was beginning to get on the right track with God and family. That was then, and now we have the best relationship that we have ever experienced. I think that most of this is due to healing on my part, but he has also changed (mellowed) over the years and is not as judgmental of me as he was in the past. Things that he would never have done in the past are now options for us to spend time together…Calling Retreat, TX Nascar race and dove hunting come to mind. He sees me trying to walk with God, which seems to soften his overall view of me now. Could I still hold grudges against him, sure! What future is there in that action? I now know that I have another only 10-15 years of time left with him and I will have NO regrets when that time is done.

A long time friend of 15+ years was recently released from jail after serving a 2 year sentence. He lost all of his material possessions, many friends and is now living with his parents. We had lost track over the years and I did not know that he was “on vacation”, but once I learned of his release, God told me to immediately get in touch with him…that he needed a friend and no judgment. I did so and learned that his father is declining daily due to Alzheimer’s. The conversation with him related to the blessing that his situation was hiding…his incarceration put him in a position to be at home with his parents (both late 70’s) and assist his mother with his ailing father. Any of us could easily see the punishment and damage to his worldly life, but how many of us can truly see the blessing?

There were ten more stories about people just like these two in Scott’s email to me. Scott’s faith is a verb. He may not always see it, but others see it in him. There were others I sat with as well: Greg Gearhart, Ralph McLelland, Lynn Ryan, Christy Dawson, Erica Hagar and Phil Hardin. These people produce fruit, and it is obvious for everyone to see. I am the fruit for some of them, others are fruit for me.

Faith is a verb! Where is the Fruit of your life?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ralph permalink
    July 13, 2010 6:58 pm

    Yyou just keep writing and speaking from the Heart. By doing so you and others bring those we come in contact with closer to the real meaning of being a Christian. All that are reading this take time to build true relationships with those around you, your family especially. Thanks for sharing the words from Scott. I needed that. Don’t wait so long between blogs either. I need to be inspired on a regular basis.

    Thanks bro, R

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